The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday announced that the rate for conducting coronavirus tests in Delhi has been fixed at Rs 2,400 per test. In a tweet, the ministry said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare received the report of a high-level expert committee on coronavirus testing rates, and forwarded it to the Delhi government.
The home ministry said that the decision to cap testing rates was taken as per the directives of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. It said that from Thursday, tests will be carried out using the new rapid antigen methodology approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The test kits will be given to Delhi with priority. The ministry announced that 169 rapid testing centres have been set up across the national Capital.
ICMR had earlier set the testing rates for private laboratories, as test kits were being imported. However, they can now be lowered as the kits are being domestically produced. ICMR had removed the Rs 4,500 cap per test on May 27, and said that states can now determine their own rates.
The ministry said that on June 15 and 16, as many as 16,618 samples were collected for Covid-19 testing, as against the earlier figure of 4,000 to 5,000 daily samples. It said reports of 6,500 tests have been received so far.
Delhi had reported 1,859 new cases and 93 deaths on Tuesday, pushing its overall tally up to 44,688 cases and 1,837 deaths. However, there is a discrepancy in the number of fatalities, with the municipalities pegging the toll at over 2,000.
On Wednesday, the Union home ministry also said that health surveys have been started in Delhi on Shah’s directions. “Out of total population of 2,30,466 in 242 containment zones, survey of 1,77,692 people was conducted between June 15 and 16,” the ministry said. “Remaining will be covered by 20 June.”
Delhi has seen a large upsurge in coronavirus cases this month. On June 12, the Supreme Court had said that requests for tests cannot be denied on technical grounds. In a notice to Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal governments, the court had asked the respective chief secretaries to submit a detailed report on patient care.
After the court’s rap, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with the Delhi government and announced measures like increased testing and provision of railway coaches to bring the Capital’s outbreak under control. He also chaired an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Delhi.
The Maharashtra government had last week capped the cost of Covid-19 tests by private laboratories at Rs 2,200 per person.